Donnerstag, 16. April 2020

In the Fog of War - Why Coronavirus Marks a Crossroads For the World

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"May you live in interesting times" is dramatically haunting so many people around the globe now. America and the whole world is at a crossroads and we all are in the midst of this "Fog of War" (General Carl von Clausewitz).

While the Coronavirus Crisis rages with many people being under some sort of stay-at-home order, doctors and medical personnel are fighting for saving as many lives as possible - regardless of putting their own lives on the line due to being forced to work with very limited equipment and under dire circumstances.

The narrative around the Coronavirus Crisis splits in two, one side arguing that health is key, public health, and we have to do everything to save lives and people's health - whatever it takes. The problem here is, that this argumentation line is mainly publicly pushed by those who are financially well-off, apparently not understanding what it is like to fight for one's life in financial terms.

In other words, politicians and public health experts with their legitimate focus on health and forcing people to stay-at-home, are not fighting for their lives financially themselves. That creates a detachment, a gap. It actually leads us to the flip-side of the argument, the financial narrative. Herein many people often argue that the Coronavirus is killing more people financially than physically, and if you bring the economy to a standstill, you are risking people's lives as well - financially and their health in so many ways. Bluntly put: If you are financially dead, it doesn't take much to be dead physically. This is what wealthy public health advocates often seem not to get, let alone the many people falling into a depression or even committing suicide by having to stay at home alone.

So the actual Coronavirus Crisis shows that the financial experts having ruled the world for many years so far are challenged, dethroned and toppled by the public health experts. In short we see not only a war between medical doctors and the Coronavirus but also the M.D.s (taking care of patients) waging war against the MBAs who for many years have made all efforts to rationalize and bring down the health care system we need desperately at the moment. The medical doctors and the health care personnel are therefore fighting a war on two fronts. But wait a minute. Is it that easy? I am afraid not: There are other parties participating in this war.

So it is not only a two-front war, on the one side medical doctors fighting Coronavirus, and on the other side medical doctors and public health experts fighting economic experts and business interests. No, the two sides merge in the third party, the pharmaceutical industry, having a huge financial interest in getting government contracts to find an effective Coronavirus vaccine.

So in the pharmaceutical industry, Big Pharma, health care and financial interests meet. Finding a vaccine is one thing, distribution is another. When the storm rages, those with no shelter are hit hardest. This experts often overlook. Much we hear of experts working on returning to normalcy. Which normalcy? Are those experts eagerly trying to reestablish the pre-Coronavirus normality excluding more and more people from society?

This leads me to another aspect of the story. It's the war within the war waging against the Coronavirus. Big data, as tracking and surveillance, is pushed in times of Coronavirus, officially for the good of humanity, many human rights organizations and data protection experts are alarmed by. As for the years to come tracking and surveillance of the movement patterns via algorithm-based analysis of people's mobile devices' usage give governments a big advantage in tackling with critics and being informed about possible demonstrations, before they even manifest, data which governments most likely will not resist to take advantage of.

It's no rocket science to anticipate: Even if one survives the Coronavirus itself, all those governmental counter-measures against the Coronavirus - despite the many governmental rescue programs to compensate the financial losses - will finish the job to kill the survivors economically. Therefore legions of small and medium-sized businesses will be exterminated by the Coronavirus Crisis.
So as mentioned at the very beginning, the world is at a crossroads right now.

On one path the world makes an upgrade via this Coronavirus finding itself on a new level of existence and consciousness, upgrading to a society taking care of each other but not in a way of spying on one another. On the other path the world makes a collective downgrade, with the Coronavirus Crisis only accelerating what has been driven successively by automation and digitation for decades, talking about mass layoffs now turning into the layoffs of the masses driven by those who were already big, who have been already driven by Big Tech and big corporations for many years, what in science is known as "Matthew effect of accumulated advantage" which sociologist Robert K. Merton derivated from the Matthew principle of the Gospel.

But let's not assume the worst. This time it could be a chance for humanity, a chance for humans to develop some (more) humanity - the hope of so many humanists working, advocating and preparing for the upgrade of humanity to the Bright New World for ages. But one question is haunting me constantly: If humanity is now leaping to a higher level of consciousness and existence, what happens to those who have ruled the world so far narcissistically and egotistically not having the reputation of being overly humanist? Which role in society will those anti-social figureheads in charge hitherto play then?

These challenging times can also bring to surface the dark aspects of the human psyche once again, especially by those on the top. Psychotherapists are well aware of, how hard it is to treat personality disorders which are quite widespread in society, how hard it is to change bad habits ingrained in ones own personality, especially when those suffering from these personality disorders don't suffer from it but only their environment.

Remember the old Cherokee tale of the two wolves inside everyone of us? One wolf is evil, full of anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, ego. The other wolf is good, full of joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. Who wins? The one we feed! Just think of the current racial discrimination the Chinese minorities are facing around the globe.

Doubts about the honesty of the change management process we are going through via the various government measures are legitimate. If you ask me, it's always good to ask: Whose interests are served with such measures, who profits most from them?

If human nature takes over not in its brightest form again, then the Coronavirus Crisis heralds the start of the last phase of neoliberalist globalism, with rapidly conducted accumulation of capital flanked by digitation wiping out the bulk of small and medium-sized businesses. Then neoliberalism has finally won this war against humanity by using technology against the people, against you, me, every one.

Then it's only another stage of the war, which started long before. The instance that it's not called "physical distancing" but "social distancing" is ringing the alarm bells to many, as "social distancing" can be seen as indicator of an already anti-social neoliberalist trajectory in charge doing its utmost to compel the people not to be social, to behave socially distant to each other, and ultimately defaming the term "social" once again in effort to wipe out even the last remnants of socialty in society.

So if that's how the story goes, if that's how this Coronavirus Crisis ends up, then after the Fog of War has cleared and the dust has settled everybody can see that only a few remaining well-equipped and well-funded ruthless multinational corporations have survived the Crisis ruling the world widely unchallenged in control of the legions of indebted people without rights, unable to organize and form resistance without the corporate governments' notice.

Then Big Tech's extended crowd control via Big Data and surveillance devices handily used in everyday life unfolds its full potential. Then no longer "Cash is King" but Digital Money is King and everything connected to digitation. And when most people use surveillance gadgets (IoT), the one who opts out from using these "smart technologies" which infringe our privacy, bit by bit, byte by byte, becomes suspect in this change process of digitation towards an Orwellian totalitarian system, wherein Big Tech meets Chinese standards on all levels in this Dark New World.

Dr. Dr. Immanuel Fruhmann
Systemic Analyst and Philosopher

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